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Reports claim that hundreds of students who have applied for NEET have a unique rank, but with domicile in multiple states, to better their chances of seat allocation. Let us delve further into the domicile fraud in NEET.

How the Domicile Works?

It is common knowledge that when a candidate applies with a domicile of one state, he/she would be considered for admission in the government colleges as well as 85% seats in all private colleges within that state only. They would be categorised in the all-India quota in all other states and would not be considered for admission in any of the government colleges and 85% of private seats in those states. Thus, if a candidate applies with multiple domiciles, they would increase their chances of admission to medical colleges in all those states they have applied for domicile in. For instance, one student with a unique NEET rank above 60000 is present in the Maharashtra, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh state rank lists.

Domicile Fraud

The aberration of one NEET rank and multiple domiciles made the process of tracking such applicants down fairly easy. A list of such dubious candidates has been compiled and handed over to the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER), who has vowed to take stringent action against those students if found guilty. This trend was especially prevalent in central and north India, with Rajasthan, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra being the most ‘represented’ states.

What has been more alarming to note is that there existed little or no coordination among states, in relation to the seat allocation through NEET. The fact that it was parents of medical aspirants who rummaged through the merit lists of various states to bring the fraud to light, points fingers at the irresponsible government officials who were caught unawares of the deviousness happening under their noses. Assuring them of remedial measures, Maharashtra education minister Girish Mahajan said that once the entire list has been obtained and the crimes verified, names of fraudulent applicants would be forwarded to the Center to take strict and swift action.

Notable among the corrective actions that have been suggested is the mandatory inclusion of Aadhar cards in the application process to verify proof of residency of applicants. However, with a recent lawsuit being filed in the Supreme Court regarding how information provided for Aadhar cards is a violation of the right to privacy, we cannot be sure of how long it will be before this could successfully be implemented. With ever-increasing competition for seats in prestigious medical institutions in the country, it is indeed saddening to see many students resorting to such devious methods to ensure admission, rather than follow the rules and be content with what they deserve.

Let us hope that this issue of domicile fraud acts as an eye-opener to the officials to be more responsible when discharging their future duties. After all, with NEET already in trouble over the other issues, domicile fraud only adds up to the problem!

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